America’s Lawyer E07: The massive sex abuse scandal from the Southern Baptist Convention has already disappeared from the headlines, but the victims aren’t giving up their fight for justice. We’ll bring you the details. Democrats are worried that Biden can’t handle a re-election fight, and a small faction is hoping to recruit a new face to lead the party in 2024. We’ll tell you all about that story. And the federal government is telling the Supreme Court to NOT revive a lawsuit against the banking industry for aiding terrorists – we’ll tell you why they are so desperate to protect the banks. All that, and more is coming up, so don’t go anywhere – America’s Lawyer starts right now.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Hi, I’m Mike Papantonio and this is America’s Lawyer. The massive sex abuse scandal from the Southern Baptist Convention has already disappeared from the headlines, but the victims, well, they want justice. We’ll bring you the details. Democrats are worried that Biden can’t handle a reelection fight and a small faction is hoping to recruit a new face to lead the party in 2024. And the federal government is telling the Supreme Court not to revive a lawsuit against the banking industry for aiding terrorists. We’ll tell you why they’re so desperate to protect the banks. All that, and more it’s coming up so don’t go anywhere, right here on America’s Lawyer. We start right now.

It was revealed recently that the Southern Baptist Convention has been covering up allegations of sexual abuse for decades and Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about this and many other issues. Finally, this story’s being told. You know, I, I look at this story it’s, they’re, they’re doing a little bit better than the Catholics have done. Catholics have covered this since 1940s and 50s. But now they did an independent search, they did an independent study and the independent study was not good for them, but they’re, they’re willing to talk about it. What’s your take.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. You know, at least they’re admitting, okay, we’ve got some problems and yes, we, the way we’re structured basically is what led to a lot of these problems and that’s really something that I think most people don’t quite understand here. The Southern Baptist Convention isn’t necessarily like the Catholic church. The Catholic church has dominion over all Catholic churches. They’re all interconnected. With Southern Baptist, each church is basically allowed to do their own thing. We’re not gonna oversee you or dictate you. We don’t even get involved in your problems for the most part. So that’s what actually led to a lot of these problems because they’re happening at these independent congregations. So starting in about 2007, I think it was, they started getting these reports in to the main body of the Southern Baptist Convention and that’s when things start to go a little south for the whole thing. They, they knew that these complaints were coming in. They weren’t exactly taking the action. They said, okay, well, we’re gonna let you guys, you deal with this. This is your business. We’re just here to, you know, sign the paperwork.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s the same conduct.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Same conduct we, we see with the Catholic church, we see with the Mormon church, we see with all of these cults that are arising everywhere. Okay. So suppress the reports, do everything that you can to suppress the reports. Cover it up, make sure it doesn’t ever see the light of day, whether it’s sexual abuse, no matter how horrendous the sexual abuse is. And then resist reform. Okay. As long as we can, resist reform, we don’t want to talk about it, because it’s gonna hurt us. And then the other thing is vilify and attack the people who are making the accusations and hope they go away. Isn’t that kind of what’s happened here?

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, absolutely. And you know, that is also another big part of this too. It’s not just, we’re gonna ignore it. We’re gonna pretend it’s not happening. We don’t want the bad publicity. It is, let’s discredit the men and women that are coming forward with these allegations of abuse. These people that have been through these horrifically traumatizing experiences, let’s make their life hell.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Let, let’s make it so much worse for them rather than admitting and solving a problem. Listen, there’s so many organizations out there that have had instances like this, you know, whether it’s the Boy Scouts, the Catholic churches as we mentioned, we’ve talked about tons of ’em on this show. The difference is what do you do with this?

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  If there is a bad actor in your organization, purge the bad actor.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  Make sure you let people know that, yeah, we had a problem. We’ve fixed it. We’re making sure there’s no other problems. It always comes back to the cover up and it always ends up getting exposed, which makes the problem 10 times worse for the organization.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. They protect and support the abuser. They vilify the victim. They, matter of fact in this there’s, there’s a real split here in the, I don’t, I know you’ve seen this. There’s two very distinctive divisions in the Southern, in this story. One is that, that division that says, well, we’re just gonna attack everybody. We’re just gonna say, matter of fact, one of, one, a woman that came forward to help get this out there, they said it was a satanic scheme to distract from our evangelism. So you have that side. And then you’ve got other folks that are saying, no, this is a good thing because we can come up with a system like the Catholics still refuse to do, you know, since 1940, they still won’t do it. They’re still clergy, you know, sexually abusing across the board. There’s still priests and that move up the, the ladder of importance in the Catholic church and they don’t do anything about it. But the, the Southern Baptist are saying, well, you know, at least part of them are saying, this is a great opportunity because we can fix this right now if we’ll get hands on. What, you think, to me do you see some differences here?

Farron Cousins:                  I absolutely see differences. I mean, the Catholic church would rather, you know, just kind of bury their heads in the sands. Pretend that, oh no, this isn’t a problem. That person was moved. Well, you didn’t mention that they were just moved two towns over and given a whole new congregation, everything was covered up. At least with this one, there are plenty of people on the inside who say, we have to do something about this. These individuals have to go. This story has to be publicized. And, and going back to that as well I, I know there’s been a lot of news happening in the last two weeks, but this story has already died.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh yeah, yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And that’s, what’s truly remarkable. I mean, you’ve got, you know, countless victims here that are seeking justice, that are trying to speak out.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  And the media’s already moved on.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. So you’ve got two things that can come out of this, that the Catholics we’re to do a long time ago, that the Boy Scouts were told to do a long time ago, that the Mormon church was told to do a long time ago. Didn’t do it. That is to have a centralized information service. A center where we keep up with this music teacher who has been reported three times for improper conduct with children, put that into a centralized system where we can take a look and we can find out where these people are and what are they doing. That’s the first thing. And the second thing is they’re talking about doing away with the non-disclosure agreements, to where, if your pros, if, if we come after you and you have to pay money, you can’t hide that. This non-disclosure thing is not gonna be permitted anymore because it’s so destructive.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And that again, huge problem with all of these organizations is that if allegations have been leveled against one person and it’s not publicized, there is no way for them to know when they try to move to a different area that this has happened with this individual.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  Or has been alleged to happen. The database would solve that problem like that.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Exxon can no longer escape a trial for lying. I mean, just lying for decades and decades about the truth of climate change and the dangers of climate change. What’s so amazing about this story to me, Farron, is that out of this is coming all these documents and you’ve you, you actually, you’ve written a couple of stories where you’ve taken the documents and you’ve said, this was done in 1965, 1970, where they said, yeah, there’s something here about climate change. And yes, we do believe that it’s manmade created climate change. And yes, our fossil fuels have something to do with it. I mean, we’re looking at the documents now. You can’t lie anymore. They wrote it. It’s in, you know, black and white.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And, and those are documents, I believe the first one was 1972.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  Where they firmly admitted, this is real. We’re causing it. This is bad for us. So 72 ish, mid seventies maybe when Exxon admitted this, but you go back 20 years before that and this is the part of the documents that everybody misses. In the 1950s Exxons own scientists were saying, and this was before we knew about greenhouse gas, you know, the greenhouse effect, climate change, those weren’t words. They said, hey, wait a minute. We’re starting to notice this burning of these fuels that we’re producing is, it’s causing this build up in the atmosphere that this could lead to some kind of catastrophic climate effect, in the 1950s.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  And so 70 years, they have known and done nothing.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, and you know, the question is, how do you get, how do you get your arms around the catastrophe that people like Exxon have caused? Now here’s their list. Here’s, here’s what they’re doing. We, we know this because this is in their documents. They’re, they’re going to fashion an extraordinary campaign to hide the truth, in the documents, they know about it. They’re going to hire biostitutes. They’re going to go to universities and hire some professor who’s written two, two, you know, two paragraphs about the topic, pay ’em a million dollars and say it’s a bunch of bunk. There’s no such thing. We’ve already seen that. Their, the create doubt campaign. That’s, that’s part of their campaign, create doubt. They’re all, now part of their campaign is use influence with the media. We’re advertising so much in the media surely we can call people like Phil Griffin from C, MSNBC or whoever’s running CNN. And we can say, you know, I really wish you wouldn’t do that story because we’re advertising a lot with you. And that they, they capitalize, here’s what’s real interesting, capitalize on Citizens United. What does that mean? Spread money around and be sure we spread as much to Democrats as we do to Republicans. That’s part of their plan. Balance that money that comes between them. Focus, focus on media commentators. Seek out media commentators who will say, oh, this is ridiculous. And last of all, buy science.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. And, and it’s been this coordinated campaign, it’s been going on for decades. It gets more sophisticated with each passing year. But this particular lawsuit is really interesting to me because this one does have the potential for success because what they’re arguing, and this is Maura Healey, Massachusetts attorney general.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  She’s saying, listen, your lies to your own investors have cost these people money because you’re creating a mess that they will eventually have to pay to clean up, your company will, by lying to them you have caused them a direct financial damage.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  So unfortunately we have to go that route because, hey, wealthy people are gonna lose money.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But that’s about the only way you can get justice against a major corporation is by, you know, like Bernie Madoff, the only guy that went to jail in the whole banking scandal. It’s because he ripped off wealthy people.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  That’s what I see this as

Mike Papantonio:             That’s really well put. The, the, the scale is monstrous. I mean, you got coastal cities that are having to spend billions of dollars just to shore up the, the shoreline.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             So you don’t have condominiums that are ending up in the Atlantic ocean or the, or the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll follow this case more.

A judge in New York has upheld a law that’s gonna allow victims of gun violence to sue gun makers. Wow. This is overdue. Let me give you the backstory on this a little bit. Friend of mine, Perry Weitz, we’ve been practicing law together a long time. He brought the first cases really up in New York. When his cases started taking off that we are going after the manufacturer for making a Saturday night special killer that’s made just to kill people or were making a, an attack rifle just to kill people, well, he started suing them. Well, then the first thing that, that the industry does is come up with something called PLCAA. PLCAA is P L C A A, and it’s called the protection of lawful commerce act of arms act. So that’s where we are now. That has to change, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, absolutely. And this is a great way to finally, you know, maybe one of the only ways we have to cut down on some of the gun violence that we see here in the United States, by making these manufacturers more accountable for what they’re putting out there. This does nothing to restrict any second amendment rights or anything like that. It just says, if you’re gonna be a company that puts out one of these dangerous things that is literally designed to kill, that is the purpose of a gun.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s the only purpose. It’s not, you don’t go hunting with an attack rifle. I mean.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. So if you’re doing this, just know you could be held liable when these things end up in the wrong hands and, and it’s a great step forward. Of course we’ve got appeals coming up. So this may not stand on appeal.

Mike Papantonio:             I think it can. I think, I think it can pick up enough momentum at the legislative level to where PLCAA, this immunity, I mean, immunity for killing people is what it is. Yeah. You can kill people. You, they are, they actually argued the commerce clause. That if you let us, if you let an attorney sue our, our business, it’s going to interfere with commerce because people can’t buy these guns. It’s an absurd argument. But it was a, it was a Congress that said, yeah, this is a good idea and they came with PLCAA. And, and thousands of people have died because of their inactivity. So I think the push is to change that.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And a lot of it has to do not just, oh, you got a gun and you shot people. It’s the marketing.

Mike Papantonio:             Yes.

Farron Cousins:                  Of these materials. You know, you’re not a man, unless you’ve got your AR 15 in hand.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, you you’re, you’re weak, you’re pathetic. And these really are some of the ads that they’ve been running.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, exactly. It’s like the Marlboro Man with cigarettes.

Farron Cousins:                  Exactly. So that’s, and that’s actually one of the tactics they’re kind of using. We used this to go after tobacco, let’s do it over here. The marketing is where they get it because unless it’s a defective gun, it’d be hard to say liability. But if you’re duping these people, if you’re almost brainwashing them into thinking this is how they have to live their lives, then you’ve got a real argument.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. You, you, you, you better buy an attack rifle, right?

Child hunger’s gone through the roof in America ever since the expanded child tax credit payments expired. First of all, explain what the tax payments are. People, a lot of people aren’t even familiar with this story.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. This was one of the better parts of the stimulus payments that Americans were getting. It started last August, 300 bucks a month for working families per child. So you had some families getting, you know, six, nine, $1,200 every month in extended child tax credit, which means you wouldn’t get it as part of your tax return. But the payments were more spread out. It went from August to January when it expired. And it lifted millions of children and millions of homes in this country out of poverty. No longer at the poverty line or below it because of these extended payments. They were able to afford their medications, afford food, you know, pay off debts that had been dragging them down for years.

Mike Papantonio:             Isn’t this easy math? I mean, isn’t this easy math? I mean, these are families they can’t even, they can’t afford bread. They can’t afford milk. They can’t afford the basic staples. And they did some great studies to find out what happens when you take this money away. 3.7 million kids are affected, 3.7 million kids and we’re sending $40 billion to the Ukraine, $40 billion. And we can’t say, well, let’s carve out a little bit here for our citizens before we go, before we empower the weapons industry. That’s what that 40 billion.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Here, Mr. Weapons industry, thank you for the money you’ve given us in our campaign. Go, go make some missiles. We’re gonna buy ’em and sell ’em to Ukraine and God knows what that’s gonna come out.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, see, and that’s what a lot of the criticism has come from, you know, with this particular administration, the $40 billion, just to use that as the example. A lot of folks on the left, even some on the right are saying, listen, we, we support Ukraine. We want Ukraine to be successful. But.

Mike Papantonio:             Come on, man.

Farron Cousins:                  We literally have children going hungry and you’re giving 40 billion to the weapons industry. Not actually to Ukraine.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s being, it’s being ginned up by the weapons industry.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Somebody needs to gin up the story that 3.7 million kids are now gonna move back down to the poverty level. Manchin’s picture is up here because he was one of the people who said, yeah, it’s a good idea to do away with it. But it wasn’t just him.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             You know, just to be very clear.

Farron Cousins:                  You, you had Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, every single Republican, I mean, House and Senate, every single one of them.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But, but this guy right here is running the country. He, he truly is.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, he is.

Farron Cousins:                  Joe Manchin had, has stalled legislation that would actually provide direct payments to Americans because he says, no, you can’t have your extended tax credit because clearly you’re buying drugs with it, is what he said.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, yeah. That, that’s exactly it. That this is drug money and everybody’s using it for drug money. Well the point is, midterms. Okay. It just, it’s not gonna be just Manchin. After midterms it’s gonna be an uphill, uphill battle. And we’re gonna see a lot of this reconstruction of cultural issues in midterms.

Farron Cousins:                  Well and, and look, the Democratic party letting people no longer get cash in hand in an election year.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  Is about one of the dumbest political decisions I have ever seen in my life. People were getting literally free money from the government. Here you go. And then in an election year and they say, we’re gonna, we’re taking this away. Idiotic.

Mike Papantonio:             Elon Musk and Twitter are now facing class action lawsuits over the takeover deal that may or may not be on the table. Can I tell you something, Elon Musk wins here. I mean, if I’m.

Farron Cousins:                  Really?

Mike Papantonio:             If I’m, oh yeah. If I’m looking at this case, he wins. Not to say that’s a good or bad thing, but I mean, it’s pretty clear. Here, here’s the way I see it. Twitter goes in and they don’t disclose everything. I mean, they, he’s supposed to do due diligence. They’re supposed to disclose the bots. They’re supposed to disclose these huge numbers that are just fake numbers. And so whether it’s right or wrong, he’s got a pretty good defense here. He’s got a pretty good attack on saying I pulled out because they weren’t telling me the truth. Now there’s a lot of other reasons he pulled out and talk about those reasons.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, yeah. I mean, Tesla’s stock is, you know, absolutely just on this downward spiral, which is really bad for him.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And Tesla still being a public company that board could force him out if it continues to go down, which of course happened with the whole Twitter thing. But Elon Musk as part of this, you know, agreement that they had, had actually, according to some reports waived his due diligence, said I’m willing to go with as is, let’s do this. And then all, the lawsuit, which actually filed by a good friend of ours.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  Their, their law firm.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  Very talented folks. But they’re saying, the lawsuit says, what he’s done by bringing all of this public, by lowering Twitter stock price, by basically exposing, hey, it’s like 20% bots out here. These aren’t real people. That’s gonna drive money away. And by lowering the price, it helps leverage the Tesla stock drop, which is what he used to back up.

Mike Papantonio:             Collateral.

Farron Cousins:                  The loan. Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             It was collateral. Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So it’s a really, it’s, it’s fairly complicated for people to really understand, but it’s, it’s a up uphill battle for sure.

Mike Papantonio:             The, the risk, the risk that Twitter has here is there’s gonna be a lot of exposure. He’s gonna say, there’s gonna be depositions and the depositions are gonna show, it’s not just the bots that they were lying about. They’re trying to make this look like it was bigger than it was. And I get it. You know, he says that yeah, where I’m gonna wave, he didn’t wave due diligence totally. He waved some aspects of due diligence. And if you find that the company is just covering, covering stuff up and he goes into a deal and thinks it’s a deal, whether it’s right or wrong.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             I’m not just, I’m not saying he’s right. I’m saying it’s a pretty darn good attack. And you’ll, you’re gonna see that, that attack develop stronger and stronger.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, so, and I ask you this, because you know a heck of a lot more than I do obviously, does it come down to what the intent was? Because obviously if he’s, because we know he tweeted out like, oh no, I just found out it’s 20% bots. Well, if that was information that Twitter had and it was, you know, corporate secrets or however they classify that and then he tweets it out publicly, one, he didn’t have to tweet it publicly.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  So.

Mike Papantonio:             That affected, that affected Twitter.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. So.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s.

Farron Cousins:                  Is the intent there? Like, if you can prove with that tweet.

Mike Papantonio:             No, I think. Yeah. If you say he did this to, to crash the Twitter stock, you know, I, I, yeah, that’s a good argument and you certainly can use it. But here’s what I’m trying to say to you. When discovery begins and they start kicking over all the rotted logs about Twitter, it’s gonna be a lot of pressure. You, you think about shares dropping, buddy. They’re gonna, they’re gonna drop like a, like an anvil out of the sky.

Farron Cousins:                  Well they need to do that with all the other ones too.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  I would love to see those numbers as well.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s, some of it’s just fantasy, man.

Some Democrats don’t think Biden can win in 2024 so they’re looking for better options before it’s too late. Well, why don’t you lead this, this is, this is a crazy story. The headlines is, the headlines on this story New York magazine, headline is, there has to be a backup. Surely there’s a backup. Isn’t there a backup, right? For 2024. I mean, that’s the headline.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. What we’re seeing and this is really interesting and, and everybody needs to understand this. There’s a growing group of Democrats that actually are influential. They do have some power. I think this is kind of originating out of New York, but it’s spreading. They don’t think this guy can hack it in 2024. And they don’t think Kamala Harris can do it in 2024. They don’t think Pete Buttigieg can do it in 2024. They are panicking behind the scenes.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And those numbers are growing and they’re looking at other people literally from coast to coast. Can we find any breathing human being?

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  That would fit the ticket better than him.

Mike Papantonio:             Biggest donors are saying this. The biggest power brokers that are involved with the Democrats are saying it. All, all the Dem money sources. This is, that’s what the Dems have to worry about. At some point, those sources say, this is not a good bet for me anymore. Let me go ahead and then they secretly by way of all kinds of, you know, all kinds of shell games, they start putting money behind Republicans. I mean, we, we we’ve seen it happen.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Time and time again. So that’s the risk. Look, he’s the oldest president in the history of this country. Now, if he runs again, he’s 86 years old by the time it’s all over, he runs at 82 years old. It’s just improbable. Now I know there’s people, I love this, you know, there’s people out here listening to this. I, I, they, they put, they put their fingers in their ear. I don’t wanna hear that. It’s too painful. Good God it’s too. I mean, that’s, that’s the worst reaction we can have. Don’t say that Pap, don’t say that Farron, you’re hurting the Democratic party. [ __ ]

Farron Cousins:                  We’re the only ones trying to help them.

Mike Papantonio:             The Democrats are in such trouble. And so we don’t talk about it, but I, honest of God, you’ve got people who watch programs like this and they, there’re so upset that we’re saying something that scares them. And rather than saying, okay, I’m scared, let me go do something about it. They put their fingers in there ear and say, how dare they say this? I mean, it’s almost childlike. It’s like, it’s like eighth grade childlike. But.

Farron Cousins:                  It, it, it is. And we, you know, we, we do see that a lot and we see it with the criticism of Biden, whether you’re doing it, you know, in a video or you’re doing it on Twitter, wherever it is, they don’t wanna acknowledge it. But listen, we, the Democratic party, we, they understand they have a problem. They’re admitting this behind the scenes. You have people that have worked with this administration that have come out of this saying, oh my God, we’ve never seen dysfunction like we’re seeing coming out of Kamala Harris’s office for the vice president. Folks, this, we always talked about the chaos of the Trump administration, which it was, behind the.

Mike Papantonio:             We still talk about it.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             We still talk about what a lose, you know, what a bumpkin Trump is.

Farron Cousins:                  And, and behind the scenes, it was even worse. And I’m not saying this reaches that level, but when you have the people that are essentially pulling the strings on the party telling you.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  This isn’t gonna work, we’re headed for catastrophe. Maybe we ought to listen.

Mike Papantonio:             Don’t you see this though when you’re doing a story like this, it’s like, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. I don’t wanna hear. Nah, nah, nah. Don’t talk to me about it. It is suspension of disbelief.

Farron Cousins:                  It really is.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s what a fourth grader does. So you have to talk about it. Now here’s their reactions. This, these, this is what’s coming from the progressive side. Well, his doldrums are gonna pass. It’s just, it’s just passing through. He’s 82 and you know what, that makes him wise and if he’s 86, he’s gonna be wiser. These are talking points. And his, oh, okay. Here it is. Here it is. Don’t pay any attention. There’s nothing to see here. You know, or, or how, how dare you attack or talk about this story because you’re hurting the Democrats. Let me make something real clear. I ain’t a Democrat and I’m sure as hell not a Republican and neither are you. I mean, I, isn’t that kind of we fall. We fall some, oh, I don’t know what your political affiliation. I guess it’s Democrat, I don’t know.

Farron Cousins:                  Well yeah, I’m still, I’m still registered with them. But I think what’s important too, is to point out, like you said, this is from New York magazine.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, a bit of a high society publication coming out of New York. This is not, you know, a random blogger putting out these thoughts. This is what is happening with the party. If you choose to not believe it, then you are choosing to deny reality.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I mean, God bless you. If you wanna go, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, I don’t want to hear this. Stop this. Stop it. You’re hurting my, you know, if you wanna do that great. But it’s time to pay attention because you’re this close, this, close to seeing a major sea change unless there’s something done about this.

Farron Cousins:                  2024 is gonna be very unpleasant.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Farron Cousins, thank you for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             Victims of terrorism have been trying to hold banks accountable for laundering terrorists money, but the US government, the DOJ, DOD, well they, they don’t want that to happen. Attorney Chris Paulos joins me now to talk about what’s happening here. Chris, this to me, is an, is an extraordinary story. I mean, we know that the banks washed money for terrorists. We have, they, they admitted it. They, you know, HSBC said, yeah, we did it. They signed a huge document where they admitted every bit of it. And now your case is to say they knew they were washing money for terrorists. We knew, we knew contractors were being killed. Soldiers were being killed. And the banks should not get away with that. You would think the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense maybe would help you with that. Just the opposite is true with this administration, isn’t it?

Chris Paulos:                        That’s right. Just recently, the Supreme Court of the United States asked the United States government, the solicitor general to basically give its perspective on a case that’s, it’s considering taking up on an appeal and reviewing. And the government has now filed a brief saying that this case is not appropriate for the Supreme Court to review and that lower courts have interpreted a new law called JASTA appropriately, when in fact that’s not at all the case. Courts have been applying an older standard and this new law was passed in 2016, over Obama’s veto. So, frankly to see the Biden administration come in and, and kind of take a swipe at this law that was, you know, a big loss for the administration that he was a part of at the time, I, I guess, should come as no surprise. But the fact is, is that these cases against these banks are, as you point out, incredibly strong. We’ve got banks that have admitted to this conduct. And now we have plaintiffs who have been injured by it, trying to seek redress in the courts and.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, we’re talking about thousands of soldiers.

Chris Paulos:                        Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio:             We’re talking about thousands of contractors. I remember when Obama and Biden, when, when JASTA came out, it was to say, look, we can’t let the banks get away with this. Okay. They can’t just give money to criminals knowing that the criminals are gonna kill US soldiers and US contractors, and just say that’s okay. So law was passed, JASTA. You were very involved in that whole process. And then, and then the Obama administration Biden was vice president, tried to veto that and they, the veto was overridden. But now this is another shot that this administration through Biden is taking at soldiers. That’s what this is. This is just a complete shot at soldiers saying, you may not recover knowing that we know where the money came from. We know it was washed, but you can’t recover from that. That’s exactly what this comes down to, isn’t it?

Chris Paulos:                        Absolutely. And, and one, one of the things that makes this such a stinging position for the administration to take is that the DOJ itself has tried to prosecute or deferred prosecution of these banks and levied fines on them, which essentially are a slap on the wrist. The, the fines were abysmally low, considering the conduct and the effect that it had. And basically didn’t stop the banks from, from, from their conduct.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, they’re still doing it.

Chris Paulos:                        Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re still doing it. And so, so in order, the, the fine you’re talking about was nothing. It was during Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch had a chance to really punish these people for criminal activity. They agreed that they were criminals. Let’s, let’s be very clear. They agreed, yes, we’re criminals. Yes, we’ve done criminal conduct that cost the lives of American soldiers and US contractors and the administration when that started was Obama and they said, well, we’re not gonna throw you in jail. We’re not even gonna do, we’re not even going to do a criminal investigation. We’re gonna let you pay a $1.6 billion fine. And they made tens of billions of dollars and the 1.6 billion was the cost of doing business. Did I get that right?

Chris Paulos:                        Pretty much. I mean, that’s essentially what, what happened. And none of that money is reserved for, for victims or for any of the folks who have brought these lawsuits alleging that the bank’s conduct facilitated the attacks against them.

Mike Papantonio:             What drives Biden to favor the banks over American soldiers?

Chris Paulos:                        Well, I think it’s clear that, you know, banks have as much money as anybody in the world and that the money in politics is, is really driving a lot of these decisions or these positions. You know, the things like Citizens United, where money is the essentially the biggest mouthpiece that, that corporations have been handed to, to affect policy changes. And that’s, it’s rearing its ugly head in decisions like this by the administration.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So there’s no, just to be clear. There’s no guesswork here. You can say money got to the bank through this terrorist organization on day one. You then have people that followed the money all the way down to the I E D that blew up someplace in the, on the globe. I mean, is it, did, is that correct?

Chris Paulos:                        In some cases that’s absolutely the fact, but you don’t even need to demonstrate that. Essentially what the, the terrorist organizations and the front companies that these terrorist organizations have created, are customers of these banks, were known to these banks at the time to be affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, any support to an organization that has.

Mike Papantonio:             Give me some, give me some examples.

Chris Paulos:                        So we’re talking about Hamas, we’re talking about the IRGC, we’re talking about Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. They have, those are foreign terrorist organizations where any support, no matter how small or what form it takes is, is illegal, is improper. And these banks were providing non-routine banking services by washing money and allowing these, these organizations access to funds they would not have had otherwise. And then they can use those funds to fund its operations, pay its, its fighters, purchase weapons and have greater influence and affect its own op, their operating capacity. The money, money as, as we’ve heard Colin Powell say, is the lifeblood of terrorism. And these banks are the ATMs for these terrorist organizations.

Mike Papantonio:             So they make the decision, yeah, we’re, give us your, give us your political campaign money banks and we’re gonna forgive the fact that you have killed tens of thousands of, of, of US soldiers, soldiers really from all over the globe, not just US. You’ve killed tens of thousands of soldiers. They want their day in court to at least go after the folks that paid for that terrorism. They should have that right. But the Biden administration says, no, they actually file with the Supreme Court saying it’s really a bad idea to let these soldiers recover. That’s basically what they’re saying.

Chris Paulos:                        Yeah. And essentially they’re saying that the, these lower courts who we know have misapplied this law, have, have gotten it right, which is not at all, correct. That they, the errors that these courts have made in interpreting the law are, are obvious. And some courts have gotten it right.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, you know, it’s interesting. While, while you’re here, you’re also handling bank, a case right here in Pensacola, where we know that the Saudi government was involved in the terrorist that killed soldiers right here at the Pensacola NAS. We’re not even getting help from the DOD on that, are we?

Chris Paulos:                        No, the Biden administration actually was an impede, an impediment to our efforts there. They, I, I’ve been on your show before. We’ve talked about how they’ve slow rolled the service of process issues there and they’ve been essentially codling the Saudi regime and not been assisting us at all in getting documents or helping us prosecute that case.

Mike Papantonio:             Why has this case not been reported in, in, in, in, in regular media? I mean, corporate media. The only place you see this is in specialized media. Corporate media’s not picking it up because they advertise for banks. Isn’t that kind of the problem here?

Chris Paulos:                        I think that’s what we’re seeing as well. Is this just the influence that these institutions have because of how much money they have and, and the, you know, the advertising dollars and the campaign dollars that they’re willing to spend.

Mike Papantonio:             Same thing we saw with Saudi, we see it with Saudi Arabia all the time, don’t we?

Chris Paulos:                        Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, you know, Saudi Arabia, they’re supposed to be our buddy, even though they engineered and pulled off 9/11 and killed 3000 Americans. They’re still our pal. Why? Not because it’s right, but because of money and, and we, we haven’t had a president that has shown any courage, any courage where it comes to Saudi Arabia. And now we have a president, we’ve had two presidents in a row that have shown no courage where it comes to these terrorist organizations that believe it’s a good idea to wash money in American banks, European banks, and then convert that into IEDs. Basically, that’s how that works, isn’t it?

Chris Paulos:                        Yeah, exactly.

Mike Papantonio:             Chris, thank you for joining me.

Chris Paulos:                        Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s all for this week, but you can follow all these segments available right here in the coming week, right here on this channel. And you can follow us on Twitter @americaslawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer where every week we tell you stories that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers won’t let ’em or their political affiliations don’t allow for it. We’ll see you next time.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.